Celebrate Angklung Day, Canberra Education and Culture Invites Australian Teachers to Get to Know Sundanese Culture

Angklung Day was celebrated lively by the Office of the Attaché for Education and Culture (Atdikbud) of the Republic of Indonesia in Canberra with the theme “Sundanese Day” offline which included performances of the Sundanese Bajidor Kahot Dance by the Borobudur Dance Dance Group on Tuesday (16/11). The activity was also enlivened by watching a film together about Sundanese Culture, an angklung workshop, and ended with enjoying Sundanese specialties. The event was celebrated by the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra with school teachers in Canberra, students, administrators of the Canberra Indonesian Language Center, the administrators of the Australian Indonesia Association (AIA) Canberra and the administrators of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA).

Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Australia, Mohammad Syarif Alatas, said on this occasion that the angklung is a traditional Sundanese musical instrument and is one of Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage.

“Indonesia is very rich in culture, we have hundreds of ethnicities with very diverse regional cultures and languages, the Sundanese are one of the hundreds of tribes in Indonesia,” explained Syarif. He hopes that the commemoration of Angklung Day as part of the introduction of culture will further familiarize the Australian and Indonesian people.

The Atdikbud RI in Canberra, Mukhamad Najib, said that Angklung Day was deliberately held at the same time to introduce Sundanese culture to teachers in Canberra. “So far, generally teachers and students in Australia are very familiar with Bali and Yogyakarta. In fact, Indonesia is very broad and very rich in cultural diversity. So, it is very important to introduce other cultures such as Sundanese Culture to teachers and students,” explained Najib.

Australian teachers, on this occasion, were invited to play angklung together. Guided by Rubby Alburhani, Angklung Instructor at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, the teachers learned to recognize the notes in the angklung and together played simple songs that they knew.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), previously, on November 16, 2010, has designated angklung as a Masterpiece of Human Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage. Since then, 16 November has been celebrated as Angklung Day. The celebration of angklung day does not only occur in Indonesia, but also in Australia, especially Canberra.

Sundanese cuisine in the form of Soto Mie Bogor and Batagor Bandung were served and appreciated for their deliciousness by the audience. In the future, Atdikbud Najib hopes that the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra will regularly introduce cultures from all provinces in Indonesia to the Australian community. “Each region in Indonesia has its own unique culture that is interesting and deserves to be introduced to the world community, therefore we will try to expose all of it to the Australian people, so that they know more about Indonesian culture from each of the existing tribes”, added Najib.

The appreciation of teachers in Australia is also very high for this event. Saint Clair Primary School teacher, Margo Smith, revealed that he was interested in learning more about Indonesian culture. “Sundanese culture is a new thing for me. Although I’ve known about angklung for a long time, this is the first time I’ve played it live and together finished a song. Please invite me again at the next events, I am happy to learn more about Indonesian culture,” said Margo.

Representative of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association, Zack Look, admitted that this event further enriched his knowledge about Indonesia. “This activity needs to be continued, so that Australians, especially young people, get to know and feel closer to Indonesia,” hoped Zack.

At the end of the event, the participants played the angklung while singing along with the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” Elvis Presley led by the Coordinator of the Information, Social and Cultural Function, the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Ghofar Ismail.